Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT)

Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) is a growing approach to musculoskeletal treatment, based on good scientific evidence.

CFT targets the specific pain problems each individual has, looking at the barriers to recovery. Examples of barriers could be:

  • Recent stressful events and situations
  • Work problems
  • Family issues
  • Beliefs
  • Patterns of physical movement
  • Information from medical consultations
  • Mental state.

Research on CFT shows it significantly improves both pain, disability, depression, anxiety, fear and self-efficacy. A large gold-standard trial in 2013 showed significant benefits of CFT over traditional care. These improvements remained at 15 months and there was a patient satisfaction rating of 96%.

People in pain need to understand why they have their pain, have a means to control it and a plan to attain meaningful goals. CFT ticks all these boxes. It partners with you to make sense of your problem and to take you back to doing the things you love.

When people feel pain, this is interpreted as a threat.

If I held a gun to your head you would be aware of some bodily changes over which you have some control. Other things you would be unaware of and unable to control, such as pupil dilation, raised heart rate and increased sweating.

If I told you it was a toy gun your system would immediately start to calm down. Why? Because both your reactions are based on the same thing, a thought. Firstly, you thought you were going to die and then secondly you thought you were safe.

This indicates that how we think can change how our body behaves. These changes in the way we move and function can then result in pain.

The body alters its movement based on protecting a part that we believe to be damaged. This, however, can prolong the problem. The longer the pain continues the more we protect the part and then you have a problem.

A CFT assessment can identify the reasons for these problems and then changes can result in rapid improvement in both pain and abilities.

Exeter Physio with Neil Davey Physio

We want you to improve and then not need our help any longer.

In the absence of disease, the human body does not need treatment. It needs coaching and that’s what we do, we coach!  We don’t do most traditional treatments because they have been shown to be ineffective.

Our knowledge, clinical reasoning and skill in treating are all based on contemporary research. The CFT approach has been shown to be significantly more effective than traditional care.

You will have our full attention throughout your journey, with a clear understanding of the reasons for and causes of your pain. This is combined with a structured plan to progress towards normal in the shortest possible time.